Early Years and Education FdA
Start your teaching career with a Foundation Degree in Early Years and Education. You’ll set yourself on the right path to educate young minds and help shape their futures from a young age.
This course is studied 100% online
30th June 2023
Payment plans available
See our 'Fees and funding' section for full course fees and the options available to help fund your studies
- Ranked 6th in the country by the Guardian League Table 2023
- Option to top-up with a Bachelor degree, or continue to a teaching degree
- Flexible study opportunities with a dedicated distance learning team and mentor to support you every step of the way
What our students say
I’m impressed with the support I’ve received during my foundation degree. For this reason, and to fulfil my aspirations of becoming a teacher, I have chosen ARU to extend my studies to a BA degree.
My course has given me the skills and confidence to make changes and improvements in my place of work and understand the theory behind the process.
About your course
Are you an experienced childcare professional looking to take the next step? Or simply someone who dreams of a career with children looking to take their first? No matter where you’re starting, our exciting foundation degree can help you build a rewarding career. It can also be your first stepping stone to further qualifications, including a top-up Bachelor degree or teaching qualification.
Working with children is exciting, fun, and incredibly rewarding. You’ll get the chance to impact their development by guiding them through new activities, and facilitating their interest in new concepts. Teaching young children requires a different set of skills to teaching other age groups such as Key Stages 3 and 4. The education of young children requires specialist knowledge in Early Years Education, and key skills in planning, practice and communication.
This online foundation degree is designed to help you develop your teaching skills in your own place of work. When you have the opportunity to work while you learn, you’ll develop a functioning understanding of the policies and practices of the subject – benefiting your personal development and your contribution within your place of work.
You'll learn about the education sector as well as child development, play, safeguarding and equality, with a strong focus on issues that are currently affecting Early Years and Education services. Under the guidance of a mentor, you'll undertake work placements and record your progress in a professional development portfolio. There are no exams; you will be assessed throughout the course with essays, a reflective diary, reports, presentations, and contribution to web discussions.
All of your lecturers are research active and experienced within the field, whilst drawing upon their own and others' publications to enhance your understanding of key themes and concepts. Guest Speakers are also involved with sharing their knowledge and skills of current practice.
Benefits to you
- You'll develop a wide range of practical and analytical skills.
- You'll improve your ability to think critically about your work.
- Adapt your studies and assignments to reflect the setting in which you work
- A foundation degree in Early Years and Education will open a wide range of career options, in areas ranging from teaching to social work.
Benefits to your organisation
- Our Early Years and Education FdA course has professional recognition.
- You'll be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Early Years contexts within which the widening children's workforce operate.
- You'll be familiar with the policies and practices of Early Years Education.
- You'll be encouraged to critically analyse contemporary theories and empirical evidence in the area.
This course will open up a number of career options. You’ll be able to apply for roles in nursery work, school support and playwork. A FdA course in education studies is also an advantage if you want to do further study, such as topping up to a BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies in just one year.
The course has professional recognition. It takes into account the Children's Workforce Development Council and the Early Years Professional Framework
Modules and assessment
Due to the structure of this course, there will be instances where you will study two modules simultaneously during a trimester. You will be supported by your tutors to help manage your workload and assessment deadlines.
Please contact one of our advisers to discuss the pacing of this course and the options available to match your circumstances.
Learning and Development
This module develops your own learning skills as well as teaching you to develop the learning skills of children. Explore the difference between learning and development, and consider the influence of adults on children’s learning. The key topics will be human development; understanding learning; study skills; and the roles played by parents and key persons in the educational development of their children.
With a FdA in early childhood studies you’ll be introduced to essential research skills relating to children, and this module will teach you about the importance of linking theory to your practice. The primary aim of ‘Researching Childhood’ is for you to develop skills in child observation and apply general research methods to childhood studies. You'll be expected to work in small groups and share your experience and ideas with your class. The key topics will be research methods; ethics involved in working with children; types of observation; and studying children.
Play, Health and Well-being
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a link between lifestyle factors such as activity levels, diet and health. Due to this, Early Years Education degrees have begun to place a greater importance on the need for children to have access to outdoor environments. It is vital to get children making healthy choices and enjoying a balanced diet and active lifestyle from as young an age as possible. Play is recognised as being crucial to children's physical, mental, social and emotional well-being, yet opportunities and encouragement for free play are becoming increasingly limited. You’ll consider children’s well-being and how it relates to their rights. You’ll learn how well-being can be supported through healthy eating, regular physical activity and a play-based environment. The key topics will be well-being; healthy eating and exercise; and outdoor play and forest schools.
In this module you’ll discover the importance of the welfare and well-being of children. You’ll learn about the complexities attached to the notion of risk, child abuse, protection and safeguarding. This module will also offer you a comprehensive understanding of English legislation, policy and procedures for keeping children safe from abuse. You will gain an understanding of the range of provisions available to support the needs and requirements of the children in your care. The key topics will be child protection; support and intervention; policy and legislation; multi-disciplinary working; and welfare and well-being.
Work-based Learning 1 Professional Practice
You will identify a specific aspect of practice to develop. Using an 'Action Inquiry' model, you will then plan a change strategy, implement the change and evaluate its effectiveness. This model of personal professional development will enable you to understand your workplace by observing, developing and carrying out an action plan to effect change and improvement in practice. You will develop valuable workplace skills in IT, communication, presentation, reflection and analysis that will translate to a variety of educational and childcare settings.
Supporting Children's Learning
This module aims to educate you on the ways in which children play, and how adults can help support their experience. Discover a variety of pedagogic strategies and learn about the importance of creative practices in how children learn through play. Different Early Years’ curricula (Steiner Waldorf, Montessori method, Experiential Education, High Scope, Reggio Emilia and Te Whariki) will be compared and contrasted with England’s curriculum. The key topics will be Early Years’ curricula; learning through play; creative learning and pedagogy; and documenting care and learning.
In this module, you'll discuss disability, differences and special educational needs in relation to debates on inclusion and exclusion, needs and rights, and the importance of seeing every child as an individual. You’ll explore different cultural practices to enable an empathetic understanding of how to help all children feel welcome in a setting. Theories for this module are drawn from different backgrounds such as psychology, sociology and education. The key topics will be history and language of inclusion; cultural differences and EAL; family structures and lifestyles; policy and legislation; and special educational needs.
Work-based Learning 2 – Professional Practice
By applying the knowledge that you gained from previous modules, you’ll be encouraged to explore your professional practice. You’ll also be expected to demonstrate a greater degree of autonomy in the management of your learning and exhibit a more detailed understanding of relevant theories.
As you move through the course, we’ll check your progress regularly to make sure that you’re achieving milestones, and getting any extra support that you may need. You'll be assessed on one multiple choice exam and written work. This will include essays, a reflective diary, reports, presentations, web discussions and a professional development portfolio.
Meet your tutors
Stacy Randall, Senior Lecturer & Course Leader
Stacy has expertise in Early Years Education, working with children and families aged 0-7 years. Stacy is a qualified Social Worker and has a specific interest in leadership and management, safeguarding children, continuous professional development and lifelong learning. Having over 30 years’ experience in education she feels passionate about ensuring every child has the best childhood possible.
Stacy has tutored, assessed and mentored students in Higher Education since 2018. Stacy has a breadth of knowledge and skills to bring to her role.
Experience includes the role of Deputy Director for a National Children’s Charity, the operational responsibilities for Children’s Centres across West Essex, overseeing contracts for Young Carer projects and Prison Visitor Centres, Mentoring Programmes and other bespoke services.
As well as this Stacy worked in the children and families assessment team at a Local Authority until taking up a full time role at Anglia Ruskin University.
At all times she keeps the child at the centre of her work, ensuring the child’s voice is heard. Her varied experience and involvement in the early years industry has led to an interest to ensure the early years workforce is recognised for the important part they play in society, through education and continued research.
How you'll study
Our Early Years and Education FdA is studied 100% online.
You’ll study through Canvas, our world-class online Learning Management System (LMS), which can be accessed from your phone, PC or tablet, both at home and on the move. Canvas provides instant access to study materials, forums, and support from tutors and classmates, as well as enabling easy submission of your assignments.
On successful completion of your studies, you’ll be invited to attend a graduation ceremony on campus. If attending the ceremony in person is not possible then we’ll arrange to have your certificate sent to you.
What could an Early Years & Education FdA do for my career?
If you want to build a career working with children, a foundation degree in Early Years childcare and education can be a fantastic stepping stone to a wide range of careers and can be achieved within 3 part-time as a distance learning student.
One of the most obvious – and most popular – of these is teaching. With an Early Years and Education FdA, you may choose to top up your degree to a BA or continue to teacher training.
This course also opens door to a number of educational opportunities outside of teaching, including educational assistant and consultancy roles. Working in education is a rewarding path that gives you the opportunity to help shape young lives, whether through working directly with young children or developing policies that allow them the chance to learn and grow in secure, stimulating environments. By contributing to education in this way, you’ll play a crucial role in improving the lives and opportunities of young children at a crucial time in their lives.
With a degree in Early Years and Education, you can also open doors to roles in child protection and social services, applying the theories and policies that you learned on our expertly curated modules to ensure the health and safety of young children.
What job roles can I consider with an Early Years & Education FdA?
An Early Years & Education FdA could lead to a wide range of career opportunities within education, health and social care sectors with further training and/or qualifications. These are just some of the job roles that Early Years & Education FdA graduate may consider, possibly with further training depending on the role:
- Early Years Teacher
- Family Support Worker
- Teaching Assistant
- Learning Mentor
- Key Worker
- Primary School Teacher
- Special Educational Needs Teacher
- Nursery Manager
- Children Centre Worker
If you are looking for more information about these job profiles and potential salary earnings see Prospects.ac.uk. It’s important to note that salaries can vary widely depending on the job role, employer, industry sector and location.
What skills will I get from an Early Years & Education FdA to help my career?
Choosing to study an Early Years & Education FdA will give you many transferable skills. Here are just some of them:
- You will develop critical thinking skills
- Learn to communicate ideas, principles, theories, and argument
- Use ICT to support your own development and the development of children
- Understand how to manage time and resources
- Manage your own CPD
What can I study after an Early Years & Education FdA?
Depending on your long-term goals and desired career, the Early Years & Education FdA provides a stepping stone to further qualifications such as Early Childhood Studies (Top-up) BA (Hons) or a teaching qualification. Further along In your career, you may consider a postgraduate degree in a related subject such as Education with Early Childhood MA or Education with Montessori MA .
Careers Advice Service
Once you become an ARU student you will be able to access our Employability service to help you whatever stage of your career, whether that’s landing your dream job or the next progression step.
- careers advice, including one-to-one online and telephone appointments with our experienced advisers
- help with your CV, job searches, applications and interview preparation
- an online portal packed with useful careers resources
- our Employability Programme, which helps you hone the skills employers say they want in graduates.
- A minimum age of 18
- Appropriate Level 3 Integrated Qualifications Framework (IQF) Qualification (CWDC) with current or recent experience in childcare
- GCSE grade 4 (C) or above in English Language and Maths (or any other Level 2 English or Maths qualification, including Equivalency Testing)
- If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.0 (Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University.
- You'll need Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance in order to study this course.
- UCAS Tariff points acquired from BTEC Level 3 Diplomas are accepted.
- Access to HE Diplomas at overall Pass grade are accepted.
- International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 24 points is accepted.
- UCAS Tariff points from the Irish Leaving Certificate are accepted.
- UCAS Tariff points from Scottish Highers are accepted.
- UCAS Tariff points from Scottish Advanced Highers are accepted.
- 48 UCAS Tariff Points from A level (or equivalent).
As a distance learner, you'll also need a suitable computer with internet connection, together with sufficient IT competence to make effective use our online learning management system (LMS) with high-speed internet and email.
Fees and Funding
The full tuition fee for this course is £10,000.
The tuition fees you pay each year for the full Early Years and Education FdA will be £2,500 in year one and £3,750 in years 2 and 3. The course is studied over 3 years.
Accredited Prior Learning may reduce the tuition fees. This will be confirmed once your application has been submitted.
Government-backed part time student loans are available to cover the cost of studying this course. These are subject to eligibility and terms and conditions.
We offer payment by instalments, so you can spread the cost of studying with us.
For military students: You can use your ELCs towards this course. ARU is a recognised ELCAS provider (number 1007). Please contact your Learning Centre for details of ELC, eligibility and how to apply.
For more information on how you fund your studies please see our funding page.
Why study Early Years and Education FdA?
When you study an Early Years and Education FdA with ARU, you’ll develop the skills for a career that gives you the chance to craft young minds from an early age. With this course, you’ll have the chance to work with children in a range of roles which influence those formative younger years and play a key role in shaping their future.
Our course will teach you a variety of core skills necessary for working with children in those crucial developmental stages. You will gain a fundamental understanding of how children learn, think, and behave, and explore the theories behind their wellbeing and development, as well as safeguarding and security policies designed to protect young people.
An online Early Years foundation degree with ARU will also teach you a variety of professional skills. Whether you have existing experience working with children or are taking this course as the first step in your future career, you will gain a greater understanding of the way in which child-centric workplaces function, and master several soft skills necessary to these environments through your distance learning course – these include time management, organisation and digital literacy.
What will I learn on this course?
Our online foundation degree in Early Years and Education will give you a broad understanding of how children learn and develop, and explore how these functions are impacted by their parents, their teachers, and other key adults in their lives.
You will discover the important role that play has, particularly activities in outdoor spaces, on the wellbeing of children. You’ll also examine the role of physical health factors on a child’s learning ability and attention span, and explore the impact of exercise and nutrition on child development. This course will also help you to determine your role and develop your potential as teacher or childcare professional to ensure that the children in your care are receiving the active lifestyles and nutrition that they need to aid in their overall learning and development.
Our Early Years degree will also introduce you to the diverse needs you may encounter during your career in early years childcare or education, including disability and special educational needs, as well as cultural differences. A full understanding of diversity in children will give set you up for a wide variety of professional environments and best position you to be fully responsive to the requirements of children in your care.
Our distance learning Early Years foundation degree is your best place to kick off your new career, or simply advance your understanding of child development, allowing you to continue working and developing in your current professional role while you complete your studies.
Why study an online degree in Early Years and Education with ARU?
With a distance learning foundation degree, you’ll have full flexibility to study on a schedule that best suits you. This course is ideal for anyone who wants to build a thriving career working with children, and many of our students are parents, full-time workers, and mature learners returning to the world of study.
At Anglia Ruskin Distance Learning, our courses are designed to accommodate your lifestyle, so that you can kickstart your career at a time that suits you.
Because our Early Years degree takes place entirely online, you can build your own study timetable whilst working full time and managing any other commitments you may have. For those already working in childcare roles, you’ll also be able to apply your learning as you go, helping you practice the principles you discover on this course and make a difference from your very first day.
Our foundation degree has been ranked No. 1 in the country by the Guardian League Table 2021, and our dedicated team are fully equipped to support and guide you through your studies.
Start your path to success and take the first step to your dream career in childhood education with our foundation degree today.
Find out more about distance learning on our blog:
30th June 2023
Discover what you’re made of.
Apply now before the application deadline.